Dawgs See SEC Championship Fly Away With Loss, Will Their Natty Hopes?

The Georgia Bulldogs’ quest for a third national college football title is not in their hands tonight.

The Dawgs could have solidified their place in the championship berth, but they lost to the one team that stood in their way, the Alabama Crimson Tide, who has smashed the Dawg’s postseason play dreams in the past. Tonight, their 27-24 victory means Georgia, the number one-seeded team, could drop out of championship contention, andΒ as a result, look forward to a soon-to-be-named bowl berth as a consolation prize to start the new year, pending a decision tomorrow from the CFB board.Β 

Georgia fell to a more than capable Alabama team, whose skilled quarterback, Jalen Milroe, carved up the Dawgs in a way few other teams could. He met his targets and that valuted Alabama defense kept Georgia’s offense from getting to Milroe or key downs when they needed it. Disliked but trophied Alabama coach Nick Saban once again had the receipts ready to silence his critics.

Can’t blame Dawgs QB Carson Beck, who went 21 of 29 pass attempts for 243 yards. Or Kendall Minton, who did his part by rushing 42 yards on 13 carries, two of which went for Georgia touchdowns. Or can you blame Brock Bowers, who played in pain nearly the whole game, and still got 53 yards of five receptions? They did their jobs.

The Tide simply outplayed the Dawgs, getting plays when needed and answering the Dawgs’ offensive moves. Milroe went 13 of 23 for 192 yards and two TDs. It didn’t help that Dawgs’ defense on a few key plays provided Alabama wiggle room to make plays and score points.

The Dawgs have now lost their first game in 29 consecutive games (ironically the last time they lost a game was when they played the Tide on December 4, 2021, in an SEC title game and lost 24-41). Their awesome undefeated regular season is now backstopped by an unsatisfying postseason loss, and then there’s the all-consuming “what will the CFB committee do?” question involving the top 8 teams (Georgia included), that could decide who goes into national championship contention. Some of those possibilities dreamed up (or agonized over, depending on your alliegence to the Dawgs or any other team), don’t include the two-time defending champs making it to the CFB final four.

So with this year’s championship trophy going to Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart‘s former bosses’ mantle piece and his own team’s national championship chances sinking, how does Smart feel about what the playoff committee will decide tomorrow?

“[CFB chairman] Bill Hancock said it’s not the four most deserving,” said coach Smart after the game. “It’s the four best. If you’re in that committee room, and you’re telling me that that’s not one of the four best teams, then you’re in the wrong profession.”

Right, but even he would admit, a win sure feels better than a stated hope that a playoff committee will see it your way.

-By Brian Allen, founding editor, Sports In The ATL

BY THE NUMBERS Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) 24 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) 27βœ…
Score trend 7-0-3-14 3-14-3-7
Total Yards 321 306
Pass Yards 243 192
Rush Yards 78 114
First Downs 19 20
Third Down Conversions 4/12 3/13
Penalties/Yards 5/56 3/36
Turnovers 1 (1 fumble) 0
Time Possession 28:51 31:09

Social media credit: Georgia Bulldogs/X